Component makers Red Panda’s red Lobster kit promises to protect your Shimano mountain bike brakes from the dreaded wandering bite point by sealing out dust, water,  and debris contamination. By adding an extra rubber boot to the pushrod that drives the piston inside the master cylinder, the Lobster is said to ensure consistent brake action every time you pull on the lever for a consistent brake feel and no degradation of braking performance over time.

Red Panda Lobster dust & grime protection for Shimano  MTB brakes

Red Panda Lobster brake bite point protection red seals for Shimano MTB brakes, inside

all image c. Red Panda

The first step to understanding why you need a Red Panda Lobster conversion if to get a quick primer on what wandering bite point is. Our recent MTB braking Ask A Stupid Question discussion goes into it in-depth if you want to know more (but we couldn’t get Shimano’s comments on the issue, though). But, suffice it to say, that wear on any part of the braking system can cause friction, slowing the return of anything from the brake lever to the brake pad after each lever pull. And when that happens – whether to the piston, pushrod, seals, or some other element – and the hydraulic fluid doesn’t return quickly & perfectly, the position of your brake lever when the pad bites into your rotor will change. 

Red Panda Lobster brake bite point protection red seals for Shimano MTB brakes, lobster shells

So that’s where the Lobsters come in…

How To prevent your brakes’ wandering bite point 

Red Panda Lobster brake bite point protection red seals for Shimano MTB brakes, inside

To get a more consistent brake feel, the relatively simple Red Panda solution replaces the standard black plastic Shimano Servo Wave guides from inside your lever body with a bright red set of Lobster guides and the new silicone boot to seal out contamination. It’s a relatively non-invasive kit, but requires a steady hand and a pretty substantial disassembly of your brake lever assembly. But if you are good with small parts, it doesn’t even require bleeding your brakes.

 

The Russian tinkerers at Red Panda will guide you step-by-step through the process.

Red Panda Lobster kit – Pricing, options & availability

Red Panda Lobster brake bite point protection red seals for Shimano MTB brakes, how to choose options

Red Panda currently has seven different Lobster kits available to protect Shimano Deore, SLX, XT, Saint & non-series disc brake levers, with three more options including XTR on the way. Each kit sells for $39-80 for a pair of brakes, or $20-40 per side. Each kit includes the red PU Lobster shells, silicone boot dust cover seals, plus required o-rings & other small hardware needed for the install.

Red Panda Lobster brake bite point protection red seals for Shimano MTB brakes

Red Panda ships the Lobsters globally from where they are made in Russia, with $11 shipping to Europe or the US. 

RedPandaComponents.com

13 comments

  1. BMX on

    hmm. Is it really that simple. Always thought the wandering bite would be something to do with tolerance issues on the piston chamber.

    Reply
    • TheKaiser on

      Yeah, there are a lot of theories on it, but I had always thought the most plausible was poor fit between master cylinder and piston, allowing air to creep in or oil to creep out. That would explain why a fresh bleed often seems to help, but the problem will then return quickly, even if you’ve seemingly extracted every last bit of air during the bleed.

      I have seen the cause of the poor fit chalked up to Shimano leaving the interior of the cylinder bare aluminum, rather than anodizing it, leading to higher wear rates, and if that is the case then I don’t understand how this kit will help. However it the wear is from contamination getting into the back side of the piston/cylinder interface, then I could see how the kit could help, if it truly improves dust and grit out of the back side of the piston. Similarly, if it were to prevent any oil getting out, that could increase consistency, but from the description it is more of a dust boot than anything that could hold pressurized oil in.

      In any case, if a sloppy master cylinder/piston fit is the issue, and one is already suffering from the wandering bite point, then I don’t see how this kit will fix it, however it dirt induced wear is what brings on the problem, and this kit prevents the wear, then it could be a wise investment as a preventative on a newer set of brakes.

      Reply
      • grunen on

        On behalf of Red Panda 🙂 I totally agree that lobster is NOT a cure for wandering bite point. If the brakes are already suffering from this problem, installing the Lobster won’t help. Lobster protects the master cylinder from dirt and dust contamination, thereby extending the life of the hydraulic system. Since oil leaks and inconsistent brake feel are common consequences of master cylinder damage, Lobster should be considered a preventative measure.

        Reply
      • Monkeysamurai on

        You sum it up very well there.

        To add, yes the wear from contaminants on the inside of the master cylinder forms grooves that continue to leak/air ingress despite new piston seals.

        The poor fit theory on new levers is less so, as the master cylinder and piston is preasure sealed with a U-seal. However, poor fit may contribute in rough motion when the piston is jarring around because it’s kind of free floating on the seal; and it’s usually jarring around when we use the brakes (highest oil pressure/heat) most.

        Reply
  2. Marc on

    That is pure marketing BS. The solution is to use lower viscosity oil, like e.g. Putoline HPX R 2.5 SAE. Solves the issue for 100% at any temperature.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Hargis on

    Concerns about the actual usefulness of this add-on aside, the red accent would drive me nuts unless it went with the color scheme of my bike. A better, simpler idea lies somewhere. The market need only open up to it.

    Reply
  4. Will Page on

    This is great. I have an XT lever in which the wave guide things disintegrated. I had a work colleague make some more with a 3D printer but I only have the STL file for one side and the small round piece that goes against the free stroke screw is also broken. This will get that lever going again.

    Reply
  5. Daniel on

    If contamination is the issue. Why is there wandering bite point issues on a brand new item before it has ever been ridden? The problem is the fluid it to thick to return to the master cylinder immediately. A thinner mineral fluid fixes the issue.

    Reply
  6. Shafty on

    I like this idea, but it’d be even better if they made an acetal replacement piston as well. Sort of a waste anyways though, since you can’t buy proper spares for Shimano brakes.

    Reply

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